Posted by : Sherri Cornelius Friday, September 25, 2009

So cleaning up the old posts on the blog got me to thinking about privacy on the Internet. Basically, there is none. Right? Google knows your every search and much turn that data over to authorities if presented with a court order. The ghost of the blog you deleted 3 years ago still lurks on its servers, and possibly other places like another individual's computer--Google Reader is web-based, but FeedReader stores the files on the reader's computer. Pedophiles troll the Internet looking for pictures of your children. You're a celebrity, you just don't know it.

And there is why I'm streamlining and culling this blog. When I started it I was a budding writer, rosy-cheeked and wide-eyed, finishing up my first book. I absolutely knew nobody in the world would read my blog. I imagined a cloak of invisibility based on my self-perceived importance in the blogisphere, which was no importance whatsoever. It was fine and dandy for me to shout out my writer's angst, the struggles of finishing a manuscript, and following that, the struggles of form rejections from agents. Then I got an agent, and while I had the feeling things should change, I wasn't sure what, exactly.

And no, I haven't had huge rants about the inanity of any certain industry professional, nor have I given scathing reviews of any books. But I'm starting to get uncomfortable talking about the process at all. I find myself reluctant to mention anything about my writing, yet sometimes I still force myself to, because this is a writer's blog... But I'm going to stop that. I will talk about writing in more general terms, which in the long run will probably snag more readers anyway.

The general idea in the comments yesterday was that a blog represents the road you've walked, and it's nice to have that history for people to peruse. Only thing is, if I look at someone's archives and find in January '07 a rant against stay-at-home moms, that's going to affect how I see that person's present personality, even if they made peace with the SAHM who was giving them problems in January '07 and that rant no longer applies.

I'm not the wide-eyed, over-sharing, timid person I was 3 1/2 years ago. This is my career blog, with my name on it for all the world to see. At this point, I want the blog to reflect what I've learned, not how I learned it.

{ 9 comments... read them below or Comment }

  1. Well, and here I just posted a blog entry today about my writing process :). Still, I did pull back from blogging for well over a year, and then I scrapped and changed blogs all together, so I know what you mean. I like the idea of maintaining privacy in certain ways, on certain topics, but I also believe in sharing our true experience as a way of connecting with others. There's a balance in there somewhere. I do find that thinking of my blog as being written by a published author, reminds me to not to write anything I wouldn't want quoted back to me someday, in an interview or on a book tour. I'm pretty willing to share, but there is a boundary line!

    That said, I also remembered today that I started blogging largely as a way to keep myself centered on my identity as a writer, more than anything else. I need all the reinforcement I can get.

  2. And the "how" aspect can fuel blog posts here too, allowing much more general ways of talking about the how. The methodology can be made faceless and nameless and applicable to anyone.

    It's not like you're going to forget your own history anyway, right? You'll always have your memories.

  3. I've moved URLs twice, wanting more privacy. This go round, I made the blog exempt form google seacrhes. But no, there ultimately is no privacy.

  4. BTW Sherri- I clicked through your link to Janet Reid's post and I have to say that while I appreciate her warning that agents google their clients, (duh), overall I found her post pretty controlling and even patronizing. After all, Janet Reid's own posts often have the effect of making me not want someone of her style as an agent, something she no doubt realizes, but does she let that stop her?

    It's hard for me to believe that the average writer's blog would be so horrendous as to put an agent off of an otherwise stellar book that they were excited about publishing. (What are the odds?). Sure, I could see a okay manuscript being ditched if the corresponding blog is awful, but then most most ok mansucripts are ditched these days, so who's kidding who that the blog was the deciding factor?

    Most blogs I read (like yours, like Marta's etc)are simply portraying someone who is deeply engaged with the writing life, it's ups and downs and in-betweens.

    Now, it's true that I don't read many writer's blogs, and I don't even read the comments anymore that are left on agent blogs, so maybe there's a world of bad blogging out there that I don't know about that she's trying to address. But that certainly doesn't apply here.

  5. "I want the blog to reflect what I’ve learned, not how I learned it"

    I love that line.

  6. Well thank you for that vote of confidence.

    I think it has to do with where the blogger is in his/her career, and what they hope to accomplish. For example, Janet Reid obviously knows her niche and is comfortable there. She's not trying to appeal to a large pool of readers (and it's a good thing). I see your point, but I'm not sure it's a matter of a blog being horrendous. Say a publisher has to choose between two similar books of similar quality. That publisher will choose the author they'd rather work with.

    I've tried to force this mentality a couple of times before, but it didn't work. This time it seems to be coming from a change within myself, rather than trying to conform to advice. I imagine I will still write about the ups and downs.

  7. I wasn't ignoring you, Fal, but see I got this massive headache and couldn't tolerate the computer screen anymore. Still not good, but I just wanted you to know I appreciate every one of your comments. *hugs*

  8. It's not a problem lovey, honest. I hope you feel better soon. Pesky headaches. I'm sorry you're hurting. *hugs back*

  9. Yep. I'm going to try to watch out for this, too.


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